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New on Disc: 'The Messenger,' 'Walkabout' and more …

17 May, 2010 By: Mike Clark

The Messenger

Street 5/18
Oscilloscope, Drama, B.O. $1.1 million, $29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for language and some sexual content/nudity.
Stars Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Samantha Morton, Steve Buscemi, Jena Malone.
To my knowledge, here’s the first time that a movie has focused its full intensity on those soldiers whose duty it is to report the deaths of other soldiers to their families and loved ones. This is among last year’s best films.
Extras: The DVD/Blu-ray extras include a commentary and an interview of key filmmaking personnel; reflections from the set; and a documentary on the U.S. Army Casualty Notification Officers.
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Street 5/18
Criterion, Drama, $39.95 DVD or Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Jenny Agutter, Luc Roeg, David Gumpilil.
A prominent example of a movie beloved by many within cult parameters yet not particularly known to the masses. The story focuses on two siblings (played by Jenny Agutter and director Nicolas Roeg’s son, Luc) who are stranded in the Australian Outback after their father flips out, and meet a young aborigine (David Gumpilil) on a ritual quest to claim his manhood.
Extras: The print here is the longer European cut. Criterion’s extras are superb, highlighted by an hour-long documentary about Gumpilil — who has spent his life going back and forth between movie appearances and living the most primitive kind of life.
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Carlito’s Way (Blu-ray)

Street 5/18
Universal, Drama, $26.98 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for strong violence, drug content, sexuality and language.
Stars Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, Luis Guzman.
In terms of movies about former outlaws trying to go straight but getting foiled by bad luck and bad punks, Brian De Palma’s kinetic adaptation of the Edwin Torres novel is way up there on my list of applicable favorites. The photographic interiors make this movie an enticing Blu-ray candidate, even though a fresh remastering wouldn’t have hurt.
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Universal, Comedy, $19.98 DVD, ‘PG’ for language, and for mild violence and sensuality.
Stars John Goodman, Cathy Moriarty, Simon Fenton.
You’d really have to be a pop-culture zero not to realize that the comic sleeper of its year was made by a pair of savvy movie lovers (writer Charlie Haas and director Joe Dante) who grew up paying attention to what theatrical exhibition in the early 1960s was really like.
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Toys in the Attic

Available now via Amazon.com CreateSpace
MGM, Drama, $19.98 DVD, NR.
Stars Dean Martin, Geraldine Page, Wendy Hiller, Yvette Mimiuex.
An oddball adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s play about repressed incest and other hothouse excesses in New Orleans. After a career directing live TV, George Roy Hill made Attic his second feature (of only 14 total) before he really got rolling several years later with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting and Slap Shot.
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